The promise of the new day’s warmth cast its light toward a bed in the suite, causing Hermione’s eyes to flutter open slowly. A small, sleepy smile broke over her face as she eyed the sleeping male beside her. Ron’s hair was splayed around his head, looking something like a halo of fire upon his pillow; Hermione had to hold in a fit of giggles so that she would not wake him. His face was relaxed, innocence had stolen the dark days of his job as an Auror with the Ministry and for that the brunette was grateful. Hermione propped herself on an elbow, as gently as she could so she did not wake the sleeper beside her.
Heaving a content sigh, Hermione gave her face a rub with her free hand hoping to rid her mind of the sandman’s hangover, it worked a bit and she smiled again. Finally, she sat properly and the large comforter fell from her chest. Her back rested on the head board, allowing one last peek at Ron’s sleeping figure.
With the last few sleep bunnies leaving her brain, Hermione knitted her eyebrows together in thought. A quick glance from her boyfriend to the side table confirmed her theory. She grabbed a hair tie and pulled back her notorious brown bush out of her face. Carefully, Hermione slid out of the bed. Slowly her mind reminded her of the previous night. Ron had come home late, Hermione figured from a pub, but she had been sleeping already. He’d woke her up, told her to pack a bag because he wanted to take her away for a few days. Of course, sleeping Hermione complied without question.
Oh he must have known that I wouldn’t have asked any questions if I was half asleep! Hermione smiled again, unable to be mad about the situation. It was rather unlike Ron to be spontaneous, but when he was it was good. She attributed the suddenness of his decision to be a result of his head injury. During her training as a healer, Hermione had seen quite a few patients who she treated with an injury to the head who family claimed had acted impulsively and not quite themselves. After recovery, though, all the patients’ family and friends reported them to be back to their normal ways. Hermione was not complaining about the spontaneity, of course, it was a nice change of pace from their normal routine.
Hermione allowed herself to look around the suite for the first time. It was lush, extremely inviting with its soft beige and deep blue colour scheme. The sleigh bed they had slept on was adorned with silky blue sheets and the large quilted comforter of midnight blue was strewn haphazardly near the sleeping feet of her Ron. There were two armchairs on the other side of the room, near the fireplace, flanked by two full book cases; Hermione smiled and walked gingerly over to them, taking in as many titles as she could.
The books did not hold her attention for long, a flash of light caught her eye and she turned toward it. The French doors that lead out onto the veranda glistened with the morning sun and Hermione made her way over to them quietly, stealing a quick glance at the still-sleeping Ron. With that last glance, she decided that he would be sleeping for at least a while longer, allowing her plenty of time to snoop more and figure out where they were.
The scene that greeted her when she turned back to the doors was not at all anything she expected. Instead of the rolling hills surrounding a quaint bed and breakfast somewhere in the middle of nowhere that she was thinking about, Hermione stood on the porch of a fifteen story luxury hotel in the middle of Paris. Hermione gasped, the Eifel tower stood just beyond and it felt as if she could reach out and touch it. A small wave of newly found affection rose in her gut, Ron knew she’d always wanted to go to Paris. A choked laugh ran from her throat and a hand was raised to her mouth.
“What do you think?” Ron’s voice seemed to float towards her ears from somewhere behind her, and she soon felt his arms around her waist. He placed a kiss on the back of her neck before resting his chin on her shoulder to take in the view. “Well?” Hermione heard the smile in his words.
“It’s beautiful!” Hermione turned, buried her face in his chest and threw her arms around his neck. “Thank-you, Ron!” She looked at him, eyes twinkling up at the handsome face of Ronald Weasley. They both grinned as Ron bent his head for a kiss which Hermione happily returned. A small sigh escaped her as she turned around to take in the sight again.
“I figured we might as well get away, considering I don’t have to work for another few days.” He nuzzled into her shoulder and he took her in as she took in the view, both of them enjoying their respective treats.
“You didn’t have to do this Ron.” Hermione was glad, for the vacation and the location, but she was worried about the cost. “It looks so expensive.” There was a dreamy, Luna-like quality about her voice when she spoke. She was not entirely asking Ron to divulge any information about it; she was simply stating her observations.
“Of course I did, I love y—.” Behind her, Ron tensed slightly and a small groan of pain washed away the sentence he could not finish. Hermione turned quickly to face him once more, a concern flooding her expression.
“Have you taken your elixir this morning?” Her brows knitted themselves together as she chewed on her lip.
“No, it tastes too... ugh.” The thought of it brought an obvious shiver over Ron.
Hermione let out an exasperated sigh, her hands in the air. “Well, if you expect to be going back to work then you need your rest. That is, after all, why they gave you the time off.” Hermione began leading him back to the bed. “You need to recover, and that is what you are going to do!” She sat him on the bed and began rummaging around their toiletries bag for the elixir. “Aha!”
Ron made a face as Hermione stood holding the phial of amber liquid. She made a move toward him and he shook his head vigorously. “Come on, Hermione. I feel fine! Really. My head it –.” He tried to hide a grimace as he scooted back towards the headboard. “It doesn’t hurt anymore, honest.” Ron faked a smile, though from the look on Hermione’s face he knew she wasn’t playing with him. He sighed; his shoulders slumped and then frowned slightly. Ron knew he would not win that particular battle.
The brunette drew closer to her boyfriend and he began to whimper. “Oh Ronald, it isn’t that horrible! I took it while I was training.” She scoffed. “Now then,” Hermione smirked as she stood over him. “I am your healer and you will do as I say or else.” Ron raised his eyebrows and opened his mouth to say something. Hermione was two steps ahead of him and raised the phial to his lips, causing him to drink the thick liquid.
Grinning wildly, Hermione placed the empty container on the bedside before pushing Ron onto his back. He made another face, slightly pouting. “Get some rest or you will surely hear it.” Her grin never wavered. “All right, I’m going to take a shower. Sit back and relax will you?”
Ron’s eyes lit up at the prospect of a shower. “Want some company?” He smirked, distaste of the elixir completely erased from his mind.
Hermione shook her head. “Take a nap or I’ll have to resort to some dirty methods of taming the sick Ron.” The brunette smirked and raised a brow, as if daring him to continue. “Now then, I’ll be back before you know it.” The woman placed a kiss on her boyfriend’s forehead and she could see that his eyes were drooping slightly from the elixir already. She smiled when Ron began to mumble. She could have sworn that he had said something about not bringing his mother into the situation, and that he would listen more. A small giggle escaped as she bounded off towards the door on her side of the bed. Luckily for her, she didn’t have to explain “dirty methods” to Ron because he knew after years of experience that it either concerned his mother, or worse Ginny. Even worse than Ginny, though, was pregnant Ginny.
On a second thought she spun on her heel and changed direction in one swift movement and Hermione made her way back to the nearly sleeping Ron. She bent to kiss him on the forehead when she reached his side and by the time she stood up again his eyes were almost drooping to a close, seemingly too heavy for him to hold up any longer.
Ron’s lips started moving in another bout of protests but the only sound that Hermione could recognize were tired groans and slurred mutterings. Hermione couldn’t help but let her heart melt and she softly brushed a tuft of hair away from his eyes. She made a mental note to give him a haircut, sooner rather than later. A small chuckle escaped as she imagined the conversation that happened every time she proposed the cutting of his hair.
Of course, Ron would argue that cutting his hair would be emasculating; Hermione, in turn, would retort that she did not want her man looking akin to a vagrant. Though, of course, there would be quite a bit of fuss and worry. By the time she finished he would be pleased, as he always was because Hermione had become quite good at cutting hair. After all, during school she gave them to all of her friends, and them during her healer hours, she was the resident cutter for those unable to go to the salon. It was their routine, even in their Hogwarts years. A soft breath from Ron signaled that he was almost soundly asleep, not more than a moment later another occurred and told her that he would begin snoring momentarily.
With one last glance at his sleeping form, Hermione turned her attention from Ron and toward the bathroom door again on the other side of the bed. For the brunette, there was nothing quite like a nice warm shower in the morning, then curling up with a good book for awhile. Ron would be out like a light for a good hour and a half or more, which would allow the elixir to work itself into his body without the stubborn man fighting it every step of the way. Hermione smiled as she skipped to the loo. Her job was done for the moment, and that meant she could have a nice long and relaxing shower to wash away the rest of the sleep that was still hanging around in her brain.
The black slowly faded from the brunette’s mind but still the images of her beloved Ron hung in her mind’s eye for what seemed like ages. As her vision cleared, Hermione saw something she had not expected, as she believed that Ginny had left hours ago.
“Gin, what-” The woman’s voice was husky with something similar to sleep and almost as soon as she spoke a sharp pain ripped through her head. Hermione groaned and placed a hand on her head, and hard, hoping to push the pain away with sheer power. “What happened?” Another groan rumbled out of her as she attempted to sit herself up.
“I don’t think so, missy.” Ginny said gently, placing a firm but loving hand on her friend’s shoulder to keep her from getting up. “You took a nasty fall, sweetie. I may not be a fancy healer like you are, but I know when someone should not move after fainting.”
Ginny’s words confused Hermione for a moment but allowed herself to be pushed back down. After a moment, Hermione noticed that she was staring up at the ceiling of her kitchen. More confusion followed when the woman attempted to remember what had happened. She closed her eyes again, hoping that it would allow her to think, but nothing came to her.
“Making tea!” She said suddenly, startling Ginny in the process.
“Oh good, you’ve definitely gone mad.” Ginny replied, a small sigh emitting the small red head. “Maybe I should call a healer. You’ve hit your head harder than I thought.” The woman moved to stand over Hermione where she had been kneeling but she was stopped by a cold hand on her own.
“I haven’t gone mad, Gin. I just-” Hermione groaned slightly as she attempted to sit again, this time succeeding. “I just remember that I was making tea. Rather, that is the last thing I remember. You came over because I was mad at you for sending that damned personality report for me.” As she was remembering, Hermione had regained some of her anger from before but she knew that it was done and there was nothing she could do about it. It wasn’t as if she was going to waste her friend’s money; that and the fact that it was time to move on, as much as she hated to admit it but it was true.
The grief was killing her, slowly but surely it was. Hermione did not want to become a husk, a shell of her former self. Change needed to take place, and it was not going to happen without some help.
Ginny sighed and helped Hermione to her feet slowly, and then into one of the kitchen table chairs so that they could talk on the same level. “I really am sorry about that, sweetie. I was not just me, you know, I could never fill one of those out all by myself.”
“Selling out your husband now are you? I figured you for a harder break than that, Ginny.” Hermione smiled at her friend, placing her head in her hand for a moment. “Really though, it’s fine. I know you all want to see me happy. You guys went through so much trouble. I suppose I can give it a shot.” The woman gave her friend a small, unsure smile. It was clear that Hermione regretted the words as she spoke them, but if it helped then so be it.
Ginny smiled sadly at Hermione. “It really is for the best you know. And besides, you never know what will happen, right?” The woman said, attempting to be reassuring for both of them.
Both of the women stood from their respective chairs and hugged. Ginny lingered a moment, holding Hermione by the shoulders, before turning to the kitchen door. Flashes of young boys went past their vision and both of them chuckled slightly. Ginny opened the door and called for them to come inside.
“How long was I out for?” Hermione asked as she watched the boys come barreling in from the yard. The majority of their clothing was dirtied, but it seemed as if Ginny had already assumed this to be true because she had her wand at the ready. As they passed her, she waved her wand and with a silent incantation she cleaned them up nice and proper. While she did this, though, her face was twisted in thought.
Ginny opened her mouth to say something, thought better of it and closed it again. Quickly, she began ushering her children towards the fireplace with Hermione at her heels. “I don’t think it was very long. Ten minutes, give or take a few.” Hermione eyed her friend as she readied the children in the fireplace before turning back to Hermione. There seemed to be something that she wasn’t saying and Hermione wanted to know.
“What is it?” Hermione knitted her eyebrows together, hoping Ginny would reveal what was bothering her all of a sudden.
“You were saying things. I don’t exactly know what but you were talking to yourself, or someone. And it scared me for a while, you know.” Ginny looked distressed, her eyes sad and afraid for her friend. “Maybe you should see a doctor, okay? Just to check out your head. I don’t really know if you were dreaming or if you hit your head the wrong way. I just don’t want the same thing to happ-” Ginny stopped talking almost as soon as she realized what she was saying. The red head shook her head causing her hair to fly around her face. Tears welled up in her eyes as she backed into the fireplace without another word.
“I’ll get it checked, okay?” Hermione herself had tears in her eyes and she placed a hand over her mouth so that she wouldn’t break down right then and there. That was the closest they had ever gotten to talking about the way he passed away since the incident, and it tore a new hold in both of their hearts. Ginny nodded slowly before grabbing a handful of floo powder and telling it that she wanted to go to The Burrow. A burst of green flames enveloped the three bodies and Hermione made a point of waving at the smiling boys with a sad smile of her own.
When she was sure they had gone and she was no longer at risk of the boys seeing her Hermione fell against the wall behind her and cried for a good long while.
Hey all, sorry for the delay in getting this chapter up. It has been a hectic six months but never fear for I am back and continuing on with my story. I decided to break up the flashbacks that I have planned over a few chapters to get more detail in them without boring you all, and I don't want to overload you guys with sad all at once. Anyways, reviews are always appreciated.